Baritone Sir Thomas Allen to Step Down as Chancellor of Durham University

By Dejan Vukosavljevic
(Credit: Deutsche Oper am Rhein official website)

The Durham University has announced that the famed baritone Sir Thomas Allen will step down from his post after more than ten years in the role.

“The Chancellor is the Head of the University and the role includes ceremonial, pastoral, scholarly, and ambassadorial duties. Sir Thomas is one of the longest serving Chancellors in our history, which stretches back nearly 200 years. He has taken great pleasure in presiding at our Congregation ceremonies and, as an international opera singer, has performed alongside our students at a number of high-profile concerts, including for Prince Charles in Durham Cathedral,” said the Durham University in an official press statement.

“Sir Thomas has devoted time, passion, and commitment to the University over the last decade, across so many fronts,” added Joe Docherty, Chair of the University Council.

Sir Thomas Allen studied at Ryhope Grammar School from 1955 to 1964. He then won a place at the Royal College of Music in 1964, where he studied with Hervey Alan for four years, specializing in oratorio and Lieder until 1968. Allen made his Royal Opera House Covent Garden debut as Donald in Britten’s “Billy Budd” in 1971, and he joined the company the following year.

Allen appeared in a number of operas, including “Le Nozze di Figaro,” “Don Giovanni,” “Die Zauberflöte,” and “Madama Butterfly,” among others. He performed on the world’s greatest stages, including the Metropolitan Opera House, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Teatro alla Scala, Bayerische Staatsoper, and San Francisco Opera, among many others.

Allen will step down in July 2022, after presiding at the summer graduation ceremonies.